This sacred invitation to honor our pain

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By Dave Henning / November 15, 2020

“This sacred invitation to honor our pain is holy work and a journey to which we are all called.  To appreciate how our physiology is designed to adapt to threatening situation, I often view it from the perspective that we have a Creator who gives us what we need to make it through to live another day. . . .  I believe that the desire of our bodies to survive is a gift.”- Aundi Kolber

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”- James 1:17 (ESV)

Aundi Kolber concludes Chapter 2 of Try Softer with a discussion of big T and little t traumas.  Therefore, Aundi defines a traumatic event as follows:

“A traumatic event includes anything that overwhelms a person’s nervous system and ability to cope.  When this happens, the body is unable to metabolize the stress or event, and the disturbing experience becomes ‘stuck’ in the person’s nervous system.”

Big T trauma occurs as a result, of overwhelming, distinct personal violations such as witnessing a life-threatening injury or death. Above all, it leads to post traumatic stress disorder.  On the other hand, little t trauma results from events not normally considered catastrophic.  However, those events still overwhelm or seriously challenge one’s ability to cope.  Furthermore, it leads to symptoms similar to PTSD.

In addition, one hallmark of both types of trauma is that the memory of the event isn’t normal.  Because the person experiences the event as though it were happening in the present.  Instead of recalling something as though it had occurred in the past – like talking about a photograph.

As a result, unlike a normal memory, the experience isn’t coordinated with the prefrontal cortex.  Hence, we possess no link to coping skills, calming memories, or healthy connections.  Thus, we find ourselves unable to navigate the situation in present time.

Finally, Aundi offers us a reframe:

“Whenever hard things activate us, our bodies are showing us they want to move toward healing and integration.  As difficult as triggers can be, with the proper support and resources, we can learn to navigate those experiences into who we are in a healthy way.”

Today’s question: Have you accepted God’s sacred invitation to honor your pain?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: the November Short Meditation, “A lily dancing with the wind”

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Dave Henning

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